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What Awaits These Oil Stocks in Q1 Earnings? HAL, FTI, PXD

The first quarter of this year was more or less a replica of the last four quarters of 2015. Oil price weakness persisted and crude dictated the overall market throughout the January to March period as it did last year. Till now, only a handful of companies in the energy sector have reported their earnings for the first quarter, with the major players slated to report early next week.

The oil slide is well reflected in the Zacks Earnings Trend report. As per the report, the first-quarter was gloomy for the oil/energy sector, with earnings projected to decline 106.2% year over year. This anticipated downturn is also likely to drag down the market (S&P 500 index in general) with a year-over-year decline of 9.7% during the first quarter.

Investors should know that excluding the impact of the energy sector, the markets will likely fall by 4.6%. Whereas including the impact of crude, the market is predicted to go south by 9.7%. Hence, it is evident the energy sector will be a major dampener in the overall Q1 earnings picture.

What’s in Store for Energy Stocks?

Let’s take a look at the overall movement of oil prices in the first quarter. Crude mostly traded below $40 per barrel. Most importantly, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell to the 12-year low mark in mid February. Oversupply of the commodity is the prime reason for the oil price weakness.

Definitely the scenario was unfavorable for the upstream energy players that include oil and gas exploration and production companies, and drilling and oilfield services players. This is because oil price has a positive correlation with the operations of these companies.

Given the persistent weakness in commodity prices, investors are eager to find out how oil stocks will fare. Let’s take a look at the expected earnings performance of three major energy companies that are scheduled to post Q1 results early next week.

Halliburton Company HAL) is slated to release Q1 results on Apr 25, before the opening bell.  The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Though a favorable Zacks Rank increases the predictive power of ESP, the company’s ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult. It is to be noted that oil price weaknesses might make the oilfield service player’s prediction of lower sequential revenues from its North American operations come true.

Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 29.17%. In fact, Halliburton has a positive four-quarter average earnings surprise of 28.80%. Let's see what awaits this quarter. (Read more: Halliburton to Report Q1 Earnings: What's in Store?)

FMC Technologies Inc. FTI is set to release its first-quarter 2016 results after the closing bell on Tuesday, Apr 26.  The company has an Earnings ESP of -3.23% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Though a Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP, a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

In the preceding three-month period, the Houston, TX-based oil drilling equipment maker delivered a negative surprise of 8.00%. The underperformance stemmed from weakness in the North American land market, a stronger U.S. dollar and poor revenue generation by the Subsea Technologies segment.

Coming to earnings surprise history, the company has a mixed record: it surpassed estimates in two of the last four quarters. (Read more: Can FMC Technologies Q1 Earnings Surprise?)

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. PXD is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 25. The company has an Earnings ESP is 1.30% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Our model did not predict an earnings beat earlier, but the current numbers – positive ESP (+1.30%) combined with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) – show that the company is likely to beat earnings in the to-be-reported quarter.

Last quarter, the company had incurred adjusted loss of 18 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 38 cents. This resulted in a positive earnings surprise of 52.63%. Moreover, the company outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters. (Read more: Pioneer Natural: What Awaits This Earnings Season?)

Don’t miss out on our full earnings release articles for these three energy stocks, as the actual results might hold some surprises!

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
FMC TECH INC (FTI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HALLIBURTON CO (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PIONEER NAT RES (PXD): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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